"To all people of Indonesia, wherever they are, I, Joko Widodo, as president of the Republic of Indonesia, appeal to jointly stop spreading hoax stories or instigations containing slanders and hatred in the social media," he stated at the state palace.
He also called on the people to preserve civility. "Let us show values of civility and manner as the cultures of the Indonesian nation," he noted.
The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has produced a fatwa (religious decree), numbered 24/2017, regarding the law and reference for interaction through social media.
It states that it is prohibited for a Muslim to conduct ghibah (gossiping), slander (spreading false information about an individual or information which is not true), pit one against another, and spread animosity through social media.
The decree also declares as haram (prohibited by the religion) for a Muslim to spread hoax stories, pornographic materials, vices, and all things prohibited by religion or true story in a wrong time and place.
It also states that producing and spreading, as well as opening access to, false information is also haram, besides seeking information about the shortcomings or the shame of other people or groups, except for the interests legitimized by syari (religion).
Activities of buzzers in the social media that supply hoax information, gossips, slanders, bullies, shames, and the like as a profession to gain benefit both economically and non-economically, including those that give them orders, support, help, and facilitate them to use their service, are also haram.
MUI general chairman, KH Maruf Amin, revealed that the fatwa was very important as part of ulemas efforts to anticipate social media development.
Minister of information Rudiantara hailed the issuance of the fatwa and hoped that with it, Muslims in the country would be able to use social media well and wisely. (*)